Blackburn, Rooker lead Athletics to 4-0 win over Tigers

DETROIT (AP) — Brent Rooker homered, Paul Blackburn pitched six sparkling innings and the Oakland Athletics earned their second win of the season, beating the Detroit Tigers 4-0 on Saturday.

Zack Gelof walked and scored three times as Oakland (2-7) ended a four-game losing streak.

Detroit only got two runners to second base in the first seven innings. The Tigers are off to a 6-2 start, but their lineup has been shaky so far.

"We weren’t able to get continuous pressure on them today," Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. "Clearly, that wasn’t a good offensive performance."

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 06: Brent Rooker #25 of the Oakland Athletics high fives teammates Zack Gelof #20 and Seth Brown #15 after hitting a home run against the Detroit Tigers during the top of the first inning at Comerica Park on April 06, 2024 i

Blackburn (1-0) continued his strong start to the season. The right-hander allowed three hits, struck out four and walked none.

"Anytime you can put zeros on the board and walk away, you know it is a good outing," he said. "I probably threw more changeups today than I’ve ever thrown in a game. That wasn’t the plan, but it was working to lefties and they’ve got a lot of good ones over there."

Using a five-pitch repertoire, Blackburn has given up six hits and one walk in 13 scoreless innings this season. He also finished spring training with 15 2/3 scoreless innings.

"Obviously, we saw this from him in his All-Star season," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. "When he is able to mix his pitches, he keeps hitters off balance. He had everything working today and he was throwing strikes."

Detroit’s Kenta Maeda (0-1) allowed three runs on two hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.

"In the first inning, I was still struggling with my mechanics from my first outing," Maeda said through an interpreter. "After that, I could attack hitters and that changed my outing."

Rooker gave the A’s a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer off Maeda in the first.

"It’s huge whenever your offense can strike first, especially in the top of the first," Blackburn said. "But it is especially big given how things have gone for us in the first eight or nine games."

Hinch brought Joey Wentz out of the bullpen with two out in the sixth and a runner on second, but Seth Brown made it 3-0 with an RBI single.

Oakland made it 4-0 in the eighth. Wentz departed with one out and Gelof on second, and Rooker blooped an RBI single over second base off Will Vest.

Detroit’s Carson Kelly doubled off Mason Miller with one out in the eighth and Spencer Torkelson drew a two-out walk, marking the first time Detroit had two runners on base. But Kerry Carpenter grounded to first base.

Miller then worked a scoreless ninth.

"Mason’s stuff is just electric," Blackburn said. "He’s coming in at 100 or 102 with a wipeout slider and today he threw a change that surprised every person in the park. He’s perfect for the back end of a bullpen."


The teams finish the three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Oakland RHP Joe Boyle (0-1, 23.63 ERA) faces Detroit RHP Jack Flaherty (0-0, 1.50 ERA).